Explore even more! Book a second 2022 holiday and save 20% if your second holiday is a river, yacht or ocean cruise of 8 days or more.
Book either two new holidays or a second holiday between 1 April and 31 May 2022 and save 20% on your second holiday if it is a river, yacht or ocean cruise departing in 2022. Savings will be applied to your final balance post-booking. Find out more
From picturesque university cities to fortresses from days of old, experience the best of Edinburgh, St Andrews, the Royal Yacht Britannia and the Trossachs. Fall in love with Scotland’s historic cities and their wildly beautiful, craggy skylines, plus step back in time in ancient castles, imagining the Scottish Kings and Queens that brought them to life – from politics to banquets. Of course, you’ll try the national drink in a whisky tasting too, as well as see the country’s beauty from a different angle on a Loch Katrine cruise.
Make your way to your four-star hotel in Edinburgh, perfectly located in the heart of the city’s Haymarket area. After checking in, there’ll be plenty of free time to explore the Scottish capital, one of Europe’s most beautiful and historic cities. Edinburgh is strikingly located on rocky crags and is a delight to wander, from the picturesque Old Town, with its stunning Medieval buildings, to the expansive New Town, with its beautiful Georgian and Neoclassical architecture. Stroll the Haymarket area itself or head through Princes Street Gardens to the likes of Princes and Rose Street – a bustling lane of restaurants and bars where you’ll be spoilt for choice.
After breakfast, this morning we uncover the main sights of Edinburgh on a guided walking tour with a local expert. Both equally charming in their own way, the city has two distinct central areas, ‘Old Town’ and ‘New Town’. Unsurprisingly, both gained UNESCO status in 1995, thanks to the quality and contrast in architecture and streetscape between the Medieval Old Town, dominated by its Castle, and the Georgian New Town, whose development influenced European urban planning. This beautifully harmonious mix of styles contributes to making Edinburgh such a special place to visit.
Our morning of discovery begins in the Old Town and along the iconic Royal Mile, which connects the wonderful Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse. In the early 18th century, Daniel Defoe claimed the Royal Mile was ‘the largest, longest and finest street, not only in Britain, but in the world’. As we make our way through the city, spy the bustling Grassmarket area, as well as St Giles’ Cathedral, with its grand Gothic architecture, the modern Scottish Parliament, plus of course the Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh.
Found a favourite part of Edinburgh yet? It’s certainly hard to pick just one. But this afternoon, you’ll have free time to go back and uncover this charming city under your own steam. Perhaps visit the grounds of Holyrood Palace or take in the sights of Edinburgh Castle before heading to the New Town to make the most of its countless shops, cafes and restaurants, with its neat grid pattern and wide streets - Edinburgh never disappoints.
Even if you have already been, this city is one of those places which you’ll want to explore time and time again, experiencing something new and different each time (B.)
This morning, we explore one of Scotland’s most stunning castles, Stirling, celebrated as both a resilient stronghold and a sumptuous palace. On the way from Edinburgh to Stirling, be sure to look out at the impressive Kelpies, 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures which dominate the skyline, which represent the horses which pulled the ploughs, wagons and barges that shaped the history and economy of the area.
Dating back to the 12th century, Stirling Castle became residence to the Stuart monarchs, with most of the buildings we see today built during their reign. The imposing castle, sitting on top of a crag, consists of many structures set on different levels, all dotted with pleasant gardens between the endless nooks and crannies that make it so fascinating and unique. A highlight is the recently restored Great Hall, the largest banqueting hall ever built in Scotland, which was completed for James IV in 1503 and was used for feasts, dances and pageants. Carefully brought back to its former glory, it stands out thanks to its bright colour which mimics the original yellow-ochre limewash.
No visit to Scotland would be complete without visiting a whisky distillery, so after visiting Stirling Castle, we stop for a tour and tasting as we head towards the Trossachs. After an informative (and delicious) tasting, we continue towards Loch Katrine, located in the Trossachs, a stunning area sprinkled with lochs and sleepy forests.
We enjoy a scenic drive, admiring the wooded hills and lochs typical of the area, and we arrive at Loch Katrine for a relaxing lake cruise, the best way to admire the beautifully unspoilt landscape. Loch Katrine has attracted tourists for hundreds of years, being the inspiration for the famous poem by Sir Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake. The poem inspired a generation of Victorian tourists to visit the loch and take in the changing landscape throughout the seasons (B.)
After breakfast, today we head to the university town of St Andrews, famous for being home to Scotland’s first university, dating back to 1413. Not only is this consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the world, but it also became famous for being the place where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge first met. The town itself offers so much more, however, and we include a visit to the imposing ruins of St Andrews cathedral, Scotland’s former largest church, which dominated Scottish religion until 1560. We will have some free time to explore the pretty town centre and to enjoy lunch – the delightful St Salvator’s Quadrangle is a highlight, one of the oldest remaining parts of the university.
St Andrews is not the only royal connection on today’s tour, however, as we call at the Royal Yacht Britannia, moored in Leith, this afternoon. As former royal yacht of the Queen, in service from 1954 for over 44 years, the Royal Yacht Britannia has sailed over 1 million miles on almost 1000 state visits. A floating palace, it was famous for hosting magnificent banquets, where world leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Ronald Reagan were entertained on board. In fact, it was famously described by the Queen as “the one place I can truly relax”.
Not only do we get to see the elegant State Apartments on this majestic vessel – including everything from drawing rooms to dining rooms and bedrooms – but also the Crew’s Quarters and working areas of the yacht, for a truly great insight into life on board. We then return to the hotel for our final evening in Edinburgh (B.)
After breakfast, you’re welcome to head home or perhaps enjoy a bit more free time in Scotland’s beautiful capital before returning (B.)
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. Your tour price includes:
Just like our classic tours, with 25 or fewer people in your group.
On a range of tours we are delighted to offer the option to travel in a small group of up to 25 people.
You’ll enjoy the same sociable atmosphere of a typical Riviera Travel holiday - but with a smaller number of travellers and a touch more exclusivity. Just look out for the icon on holiday pages.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.